Monday, March 14, 2011

To live with them

On Saturday night, we went to yet another Minnesota Orchestra concert (I don't believe I've ever gone to see so many professional ensembles in one season). I am so fortunate to live in a city with such a great orchestra. I know that one will find some tremendous ensembles in any big city, but I believe the Minnesota Orchestra has to be one of the better orchestras in the country. 
Listening to this concert led me to remember the last one we attended, in which Lisa Batiashvili performed as the soloist. I've had some trouble legitimizing performing in my life, but her performance began to change my mind. I started to consider how I would be as a performer were I to be good enough to be a member of this orchestra. I've played in orchestras before, but I never have considered myself a very strong classical violinist. I wondered whether I'd improve simply by being in the other players' presence. I imagine I would. I have had so many experiences in which the level of ability of the people surrounding me has directly influenced how I perform within that experience, on that day. Of course I remembered past choirs and musical ensembles in which I've been, but I also looked back on the various sports teams on which I've competed, too. I remember one day when I was playing volleyball on my league team. Our team was good, but not the best in our pool and certainly not even close to the worst. For whatever reason, on this day, we played really tightly together and communicated well. I attribute this to the other team's being among the best in the tournament. I don't recall whether we won the match, but I know we won at least one of the games. 
These reflections led me, somehow, to consider how the orchestra functions as a community. There are different sections of instruments who contribute their unique qualities and capabilities and who fill distinct roles. Depending on how one defines the term "language," every community has one. And certain communities are large enough to manipulate their language in such a way that a dialect is used. One can learn the dialect when he or she spends enough time within that community, just like I might be able to pick up the nuances of a professional, classical violinist if I were allowed time in his or her community of instrumentalists.
If only I were good enough to be granted a stay. ;)
Does anyone else experience this performance phenomenon?

Band: Talking Heads.

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